With internal coaches Mark Loretta and Will Venable interviewed, the Chicago Cubs are moving along to an external interview today for their open managerial job: Joe Girardi.
The long-time Yankees skipper has been calling games for Fox this week, but he’ll take his off-day from the Rays and Astros series to come to Chicago for an interview, it seems, according to this Mark Gonzales report.
From the jump, it sounded like Girardi really, really wanted a shot at the Cubs job, perhaps even going back to this time last year. Now he’ll at least get his shot to wow the Cubs’ front office after two years away from the dugout.
Girardi, 54, wouldn’t seem to be the mold the Cubs would be pursuing for their next manager, given that the trend is to go after younger guys who’ve had extensive front office experience in addition to coaching experience. While Girardi’s reputation as not being analytically-inclined is a weird one that doesn’t really square with his history, he does have a fair reputation as being perhaps a gruffer presence in the clubhouse, especially in contrast to a guy like Joe Maddon. Then again, the Cubs are explicitly looking to change voices and maybe push for a little more of a firm hand, so I’m not sure that works against Girardi.
I will be very interested to hear what, if anything, comes out publicly from today’s interview. I’d think the Cubs’ primary interest would be in finding out what Girardi believes’ went wrong – or at least faded – with the Yankees, and how he’s spent the last two years (as a broadcaster) staying close to the profound evolution of the game that has happened in just those last two years.
Unlike a lot of folks, I’m not categorically opposed to the Cubs going with Girardi, even if he doesn’t seem, on paper, like the type they’re looking for. He was very successful for a very long time in New York, which is as tough as the job gets. He did a great job in his first year with the Marlins before that, too. Even if my gut says a guy like David Ross or Joe Espada or Mark Loretta is a better fit at this moment in time, I’m at least open-minded, as the Cubs must be.